For the past few weeks, I’ve been reading about Born of the Gods drafts with a mixture of longing and (self) pity. While I’d love to slam a few Magic drafts every night, my sleep schedule has started to look like this recently:

Screen Shot 2014-02-20 at 7.16.10 PM

I should be writing a lab report right now.

And usually I’m not in the condition to cross the street safely, much less draft a coherent, nuanced set of cards, gently coddle it into a 40-card deck, and pilot it to safety.

But for the last few days, I’ve been on something of a binge. Here’s an MTGO draft I fired up (Swiss, because paying like $12 to get 0-2’d in ten minutes is enough to put a damper on your whole week):

Pack 1 pick 1:

Not really sure what’s going on with the blank card, but it shouldn’t be too much of a problem. This pack was nothing special. The common Bestow creatures are pretty good from what I hear, and Vortex Elemental is apparently enough to hose most aggressive decks. But I don’t really want to miss the chance to play a card that’s as cool as Oracle of Bones.

And so my descent into another red deck begins.
My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 2:

I think the scry-land might be worth $2 or something. But Theros has precious little removal, and Fall of the Hammer is a premium. Since I’m heading down the red path, I figure that either the giant or satyr will wheel.
My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 3:

Isn’t this dude first-pickable? RW, here I come.
My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 4:

While I was tempted to take Mr. Impetuous and go full aggro, I figure some removal, even if it’s sorcery speed and somewhat over-costed, is still king here. At this point, I’m moving away from RW Heroic into a more mid-range variant.
My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 5:

I would rather have more removal, but the giant is still okay. Five to the face is nothing to sneeze at. And I guess a vanilla 5/5 can still lay on the beats.
My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 6:

This is where things get interesting. Thunder Daddy in a RW deck? Things are shaping up to be pretty good. Optimism levels rising.
My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 7:

Pretty easy pick. Would be nice to have a Revoke Existence in sideboard, but would much rather have a 3/1 with a relevant Heroic trigger in my actual 40.
My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 8:

Seventh pick? On-color premium removal? Sign me up. I briefly considered the Everflame Eidolon, partly because I think he’s really strong and mostly because its art is absolutely amazing. Because I enjoy selecting cards for their aesthetic value (re: why Tony will never win a Limited tournament), if this was a paper draft, I would have probably slammed the Eidolon.
My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 9:

Pretty slim pickings, although if I was on-color I’d be overjoyed to grab the Eidolon this late. Griffin Dreamfinder can still block a lot of stuff though. And if I end up getting some extra value from his ability, awesome.
My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 10:

Well, the Giant and the Nyx-Smith both wheeled. I think the satyr is more on-curve at this point. And his ability seems really, really cool.
My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 11:

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 12:

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 13:

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 14:

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 15:

Blank lands! My favorite.
My Pick:


Pack 2 pick 1:


Famous last words.

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 2:

Another big, scary red creature? Welcome to the club, buddy. Leave your shoes at the door and drinks are in the back.

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 3:

When I think about “okay” rares, I instinctively recallEmber Swallower. He’s not bad by any stretch of the imagination. But I think my deck could benefit from some more aggressively costed creatures. Or really, really good removal. Can never have too much.

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 4:

I see Mr. Giant brought his date to the party. Everyone’s welcome! At this point, I’m thinking that a late pick Messenger’s Speed would be pretty clutch. I’ll keep my eyes open.

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 5:

I see this guy rolls with Stoneshock Giant. I’m totally cool with inviting him to the party, even though he’s the kind of belligerent drunk that gets cuffed at four in the morning for trying to pick a fight with a trashcan.

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 6:

Aw, yeah. This is the guy that every big party wants.

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 7:

I don’t really want the Battle-Priest. And why would I take some big, dumb removal card when my deck has a lot of efficient cheap ones? And out of all the common two-drops, Deathbell’s is the cream of the crop.

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 8:

The party never, ever ends.

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 9:

Around this pick, my computer decided shut down and take its sweet time rebooting itself. While the excruciatingly slow loading screen inched upward, I alternating between furious pacing and clawing my hair out. Missed a Dragon Mantle.

My Pick:

I guess the next few picks weren’t recorded. I don’t think I got anything of note.

Pack 2 pick 14:

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 15:

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 1:

I don’t really think Titan would get along with all of the giants and cyclopes already in my deck. Sorry bud, maybe next time. But Hopeful Eidolon has proven itself to be an all-star in Theros Draft, and I’m glad to let him in.

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 2:

And now the Spear? Luck gods, you guys are spoiling me.

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 3:

I love picking Tyramet, but I don’t really think my deck is aggressive enough to support it.

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 4:

The extra Scry and random fixing might come in handy. But God’s Willing is one of the cards that gives me a really dirty feeling when I pass it. I listen to my instincts and nab it.

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 5:

I see Mr. Cyclops also brought a date. Well, the more the merrier. Akroan Hoplite might have been the better pick, concerning my shortage of good two-drops.

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 6:

Sorry Cyclops-3. Alseid gives me a lot more flexibility in the early game, and arguably packs much more of a punch when Bestowed later.

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 7:

This guy usually reads “2R, deal four damage to your opponent’s face and get a 2/2 Minotaur, too.”

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 8:

Heroic enablers ahoy!

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 9:

Hm, maybe BR minotaurs might have been the better deck, in retrospect.

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 10:

Also a good tenth pick.

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 11:

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 12:

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 13:

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 14:

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 15:

My Pick:

This is what my deck ended up looking like:


Although it looks pretty good on paper, I got an uneasy feeling after I finally submitted it. The relentless optimism I had toward the beginning of my Magic career had simmered down to a cynical, vaguely pessimistic view of my abilities. Maybe it’s the curse of writing a column called Scrub Report, a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy. Something was going to go wrong. Something had to go wrong.

Match one, as it turns out, went pretty right. Played against a UW Heroic (I think?) deck that just crumpled to my three and four-drops. Didn’t even have time to take a picture, although I don’t really think you missed much (unless you really enjoy watching someone’s dreams get stomped to pieces by a Thunder Brute, then sorry). He bounced my creatures a few times with Voyage’s End shenanigans, but couldn’t keep up with my constant pressure.

Match two started quietly enough. Against an interesting RU variant.

I got to see my new favorite card Perplexing Chimera in play:


Look at him roar. So majestic.

He made be pause for a few minutes to consider my options. In the end, I ended up slamming the Ill-Tempered Cyclops and he didn’t exchange control. Next turn, he traded it for my Alseid. Threat averted.

And then this:


I suppose it is.

I’m pretty soft-hearted toward jerks on the Internet. Reading their furiously typed messages, I’ll smile placidly, nod my head in tacit agreement, and kind of my eyes glaze over as I imagine the circumstances that lead people to act out toward strangers. Benefit of the doubt and all that stuff. You know the drill.

But this guy was something special.

Starting on the fifth turn of game one, the chat was a constant box of whining, insults, and pithy quotes. If Hallmark wanted to make a new line of passive-aggressive greeting cards, this guy could be department head. A few years of playing League of Legends has taught me the holy mantra of online gaming: ignore people and move on. But for some reason I couldn’t. It would make for a great article! Think about the drama!


I guess I didn’t, huh.

In game two, he boards out to a multi-colored Heroic/Inspired deck.


My board is severely lacking in red.

I fail to draw a single Mountain until turn eight, and by then its too late. Boo. After a few more snide remarks, we head into game two. I’m still radio silent at this point. Verbal parlaying with this guy, as fun as it sounds, would probably be bad for my blood pressure.

After playing nothing but lands for the first four turns, I get Mr. and Mrs. Stoneshock Giant out on turns five and six. Things are looking bad for our intrepid villain who, despite his constant public assurances that I was, in fact, quite worse than him, can’t manage to stabilize.

Until disaster strikes:


Akroan Conscriptors just crashed the party.

What I should have done is zap the Conscriptors right away.

Instead, I bestow one of the giants with an Observant Alseid and swing with both, trading one for a centaur token but smacking my opponent for seven damage.

Another turn passes. At this point, I missed like five opportunities to remove the Conscriptors and be done with it. Instead, I figure I’m playing super sharp by trying to get my opponent to waste a spell on triggering it, and then casting.

Bad idea. Lightning Strike goes on the stack after the Heroic trigger. Absolute disaster.


A level-five disaster for me, equivalent to massive tsunamis and alien moon invaders.

I don’t usually tilt. And I value my composure pretty highly, especially when it comes to fun, low-stress (okay, I might be using that term loosely) hobbies like Magic. But man, I was pissed.

Match three started, but my heart wasn’t in it. Went 0-2 against a GW Heroic deck that did some nasty things with Reap What is Sown and probably deserved the win.

If you’re the sort of person that takes life lessons from MTG columns (okay, maybe that’s just me), there’s a lot to be found. Keep your cool. Play slowly. Don’t let the words of others get to you.

I know what I learned: play blue next time.

Tony is the Hipsters’ resident scrub. He lives and studies in Philadelphia. Find him @holophr.


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